As we step into the future, our students will benefit from skills and processes that support success in a rapidly changing environment. The ability to integrate into teams, develop solutions for complex problems, and utilize skill sets in creative ways becomes the fundamental skills for their success. BC’s Applied Design, Skills, and Technology (ADST) curriculum provides teachers with a framework to facilitate the development of student knowledge through the use of a non-linear design thinking process. Design thinking means understanding and defining the context, idea creation, prototyping, testing, making, and sharing.
At the heart of the design thinking process is computational thinking. Computational thinking is not a process exclusive to coding. It is a definitive framework to help students analyse and solve problems. Computational thinking features decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms that offer students the skills to engage in the design thinking process, and apply their knowledge and skills to create innovative and creative solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.
Though coding is only one aspect of the ADST curriculum it is ubiquitous—common—in our society. It is a fundamental skill that our students will need for success in problem-solving. Across our district, there are examples of this work developing our students’ knowledge and abilities to use computational and design thinking through coding.
I feel a great sense of pride when I think about the work our colleagues are engaged in. Everything from using flow logic to map the life cycle of salmon in a kindergarten and grade 1 class, to the use of 3D printers and explorative learning in grades 4 to 7, to a competitive secondary school robotics team facilitated by one of our many teacher champions, Rachel FitzZaland.
District teachers are engaging in the learning needed to engage our learners in computational thinking and the design cycle. A learning opportunity offered by the Vancouver Island Learning Network on ADST and Coding provided teachers with networking and sharing opportunities. Two SD64 teachers – Bryce Woolcombe and Andrew McPhee, hosted a favourite session at one of these events. Their session used BBC MicroBits and coding concepts to create a doll dunk tank using a pressure switch and a servo; this was inspiring because it outlined how accessible this learning is to students. As a starting step to enable our teachers to incorporate instruction about coding concepts, the district has provided a class set of the BBC MicroBits for each school in the district. If you have not seen these kits, please ask your school’s tech rep or email Paul Johnson.
We work in a very beautiful place with a collection of highly motivated and empowered teachers who work tirelessly to provide our students with the best learning opportunities they can. The implementation of the ADST’s design cycle including curricular competencies is a quality example of this good work. Together we are strong and, through collective efficacy, we can enable our learners and become change makers through collaborative practice.
Coding may not be your superpower… Yet!
Here is more information about BC’s ADST K-12 curriculum
Story: Paul Johnson
Photo: Kari Holmes